Indian Affairs in Colonial New York

Church and Sunday in Old New York,
page 14 of 16

He agreed to remain in the colony six years, and was given free passage for himself and family to the new world; an outfit of three hundred guilders; a salary of three hundred guilders a year for three years, and five hundred annually during the three remaining years; and an annual tithe of thirty schepels of wheat and two firkins of butter. If he died before the term expired, his wife was to have a pension of a hundred guilders a year for the unexpired term. The first revenue relinquished by the West India Company to the town of New Amsterdam was the “tapster’s excise,” — the excise on wine, beer, and spirits, and the sole condition made by Stuyvesant on its surrender, as to its application, was that the salaries of the two domines should be paid from it.

As time passed on, firewood became one of the minister’s perquisites, in addition to his salary, sixty or seventy loads a season. We find the Schenectady congregation having a “bee” to gather in the domine’s wood; and the Consistory supplied plentiful wine, rum, and beer as a treat for the “bee.”

What Cotton Mather called the “angelical conjunction” of piety and physic sometimes was found in the person of the ministers of the Dutch Reformed church, but not so constantly as among the Puritan ministers. Domine Rubel, sent out by the Classis of Amsterdam, was settled over the churches in Kings County. He was more devoted to the preparation of quack medicines than to the saving of souls. One of his advertisements of March 28, 1778, reads thus:—

“It has pleased Almighty God to give me the wisdom to find out the Golden Mother Tincture and such a Universal Pill as will cure most diseases. I have studied European physicians in four different languages. I don’t take much money as I want no more than a small living whereto God will give his blessing.
                                        JOHANNES CASPARUS RUBEL, Minister of the
                                                            Gospel and Chymicus.”

This does not let us wonder that after a while his parish became dissatisfied with his ministrations, and that he ended his days in dishonor.

The employment of the Dutch language in the pulpit in New York churches lasted until into this century. Naturally, Dutch was used as long as the Classis at Amsterdam supplied the churches in America with preachers.


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